Cornish Metals (LSE:CUSN) has just listed on AIM here in London and the IPO has somewhat flown under the radar with the excitement of the Kanabo listing, but Cornish Metals has just raised £8m for exploration in Cornwall for tin and copper.
Cornwall has always been a centre of tin mining, and there are some theories that hold the Romans only invaded Britain initially because they wanted to corner the lucrative tin trade. Tin mining in the county has been active really up until the 1990s, and it was the fall in global tin prices more than anything else that caused mines to close.
That is not the case anymore, however, and tin is back in the picture. Long time readers of The Armchair Trader will already know we are bullish on copper for a variety of factors.
Tin is experiencing renewed demand from tech, energy
Tin is a critical component of high tech hardware and for use in electrical vehicles. Consumption of tin is also picking up with the expansion of the robotics industry and within renewables infrastructure including solar farms. There is also growing emphasis on lead free soldering.
Tin looks like it is going to be in more demand going forwards as there is a global push into the field of clean energy. There already seems to be a slight squeeze on existing production, following flooding in Myanmar for example, where exports to China were down 17% year on year. And that’s before you factor in the current civil unrest.
There is obviously going to be a demand for tin in Europe as this region steps up its production of a wide range of hardware needed to underwrite the green energy revolution.
“Tin is essential for the electronics world,” says Richard Williams, CEO of Cornish Metals. “But tin demand is more than just about computers. Tin prices are already at a 10 year high and right now there is no primary tin production in Europe. We have strong UK government support for this sector, with discussions right now revolving around security of supply.”
This means we are going to see increased factory demand for tin in the next five years and much of those supplies will still need to be sourced from regions outside Europe, but if you could bring tin supplies online on your front doorstep, that would be a major asset.
Cornish Metals is exploring in areas of historic activity
Cornish Metals is scouting areas of historic tin mining activity. As miners have to do these days, there has been close coordination with local communities and the Environment Agency and the company is at pains to emphasise that it is going nowhere near areas of natural beauty, for which Cornwall is justly famous.
Cornish Metals owns 100% of the South Crofty project in the Central Mining District of Cornwall. It is fully permitted, with an underground permission license until 2071. The company has planning permission to construct a new plant for processing and a permit from the Environment Agency to de-water the mine. The underground permission area covers 1490 hectares and 26 former producing mines.
Cornish Metals has also acquired United Downs project, 8km east of South Crofty, which its in what in the 18th century was considered one of the richest mining areas on earth, including copper. Cornish Metals retains the rights to hard rock mineralisation here, while it has an agreement with Cornish Lithium, which is looking for lithium here in brine occurrences.
Williams says it will take at least 18 months to get the South Crofty mining project fully drained and expects it to be at least four years before we see production from United Downs.